An article I found attempts to elevate the random meeting ice-breaker question “what do you do” to a higher level.

The very nature of a better question than that lame, stale one is to rise above finite answers like ” I am a corporate banker in a local savings bank” to which we answer “Oh” and get us to an open-ended answer that shows the promise of additional intelligent conversation.

Like the one I use in the title and everywhere I go. It elicits a “I must think about the answer before I offer it” response. It opens the two (or more) people into an articulate and higher-level conversation to find common ground, more towards the understanding of why each other does what they do.

Neither “who’s your favorite super-hero?”, as the article suggests. Really? Are we 14?

Nor “where did you grow up?” which for some is a litany of military or IBM bases, and is this important?

Both of those will end with the other person uttering “Ok, that’s interesting” which it is certainly not, and then retreating back to safe territory like “what do you do?”

I urge you to be challenging and personable as you ask some of the questions (not the two above!) offered in the article. Get to the “why.”

Seek insight and repartee. Ask and answer, and keep asking the next level questions.

Or politely part company and find someone else more communicative.

Be ready to ask and answer: Why do you do what you do?

Marc W. Halpert

LinkedIn personal coach, group trainer, marketing strategist and overall evangelist, having a great time pursuing my passion of connecting professionals so they can collaborate better!

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